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In loving memory of Sigrid Johnson (1952—2022)

So many thoughts fill my mind thinking of dear Sigrid, affectionately known to all singers as “Ears Johnson” for she truly had the most amazing way of discerning the sound of each individual voice. For 24 years at VocalEssence she was my colleague, my musical conscience, a joyful supporter for a great realm of music,…

Celebrating Black Choral Music All Year Long

Mike Rowan  Chorus America | February 25, 2022 https://chorusamerica.org/node/17948 Black History Month was first celebrated in 1924 as “Negro History Week,” founded by Black historian Carter G. Woodson with the aim that Black students in particular would be formally taught about their own heritage and the contributions of African Americans in their schools. As Black History Month…  Read More

A vocal witness

Jeff Wheeler Instagram and Star Tribune Metro Section  | March 4, 2022   Members of The Aeolians, including Laila Darville, center, sang during rehearsal with the VocalEssence Chorus and VocalEssence Singers of This Age, a choir made up of Twin Cities high school kids Tuesday night at Orchestra Hall ahead of their concert this Sunday…  Read More

Send in the voices

by John Birge YourClassical | February 28, 2022 https://www.yourclassical.org/story/2022/02/28/send-in-the-voices A world of great voices comes to the Land of 10,000 choirs this week. Honored with the title “Choir of the World” at the World Choir Games in 2017, The Aeolians is a student choir from Oakwood University, an HBCU in Huntsville Alabama. They inspire you…  Read More

The big gigs: 10 concerts to see in the Twin Cities this week

By Chris Riemenschneider, Jon Bream and Rob Hubbard  Star Tribune | March 2, 2022 https://www.startribune.com/the-big-gigs-10-concerts-to-see-in-the-twin-cities-dua-lipa-connie-han-kiss-the-tiger-rick-wakeman/600152050/ Live music highlights for March 4-9 include Dua Lipa, First Ave’s Best New Bands, the Beths, VocalEssence and more. Friday, March 4 First Avenue’s Best New Bands: Don’t worry, the two-month postponement of this annual roundup of Minnesota buzzmakers didn’t take away any of…  Read More

Aaron Jay Kernis | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Aaron Jay Kernis. Aaron Jay Kernis b. 1960 Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-Award-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis is among the most esteemed musical figures of his generation. He began his musical studies on the violin; at…  Read More

Melanie DeMore | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Melanie DeMore.   Melanie DeMore b. Prolific African-American composer Melanie DeMore was born in the Bronx, raised in Anchorage, and moved to San Antonio to complete her schooling.  “Getting off,” as DeMore calls it, on…  Read More

Jussi Chydenius | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Jussi Chydenius. Jussi Chydenius b. 1972 Finnish composer and vocalist, Jussi Chydenius is a pioneering choral composer whose music combines pop and jazz harmonies to create vital original works. Born in Helsinki, he was very…  Read More

Steven Stucky | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Steven Stucky. Steven Stucky 1949-2016 Steven Stucky was a prolific Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer. At age 9, he moved with his family to Abilene, Texas, and later attended Baylor University and Cornell University where he. worked with…  Read More

Charles Wood | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Charles Wood. Charles Wood 1866-1926 Charles Wood was an Irish composer and teacher primarily remembered and performed as an Anglican church music composer. Wood received his early education at the Cathedral Choir School in Dublin…  Read More

Josef Rheinberger | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Josef Rheinberger. Josef Rheinberger 1839-1901 Josef Rheinberger was a Liechtenstein composer and teacher whose organ sonatas are among the finest 19th-century works for the instrument. At age five he received lessons in theory, pianoforte, and…  Read More

Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse.  Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse 1873-1954 The French composer and teacher, Jean-Jules Roger-Ducasse, received a basic musical education in Bordeaux. In 1892 he moved to Paris and entered the Paris Conservatory to study music under Emile…  Read More

Anthony Piccolo | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer Anthony Piccolo. Anthony Piccolo b. 1946  A stroke of fate in the form of conductor Laszlo Halasz saved composer Anthony Piccolo from a life in a science laboratory when he was awarded a personal scholarship…  Read More

T. Tertius Noble | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer T. Tertius Noble.   T. Tertius Noble 1867-1953 Organist and composer Thomas Tertius Noble is better known today as a composer, although in his time he achieved greater eminence as a performing artist. Trained first…  Read More

John Joubert | Musical Moments with Philip Brunelle

In this Musical Moment, VocalEssence artistic director and founder Philip Brunelle shares insider information and beautiful music by the composer John Joubert. John Joubert 1927-2019 Born in Cape Town in 1927, John Joubert’s compositional career stretched over 70 years. His schooling took place at an Anglican foundation run on the lines of an English public…  Read More